My absence of religion
forms a bloated travel partner:
always cramming into churches, barring space
for transcendence; reducing me
to a tourist in those strains of stained
glass, where I stare, curiously detached,
through a foreign ecstasy.

But it’s different here,
where greatness arcs from elsewhere;
etches upwards and flutters
beneath flat, marble epitaphs. From
where poetry survives under tiptoes and up
from noble corpses. Up from he who once
said that the words of the dead are modified
in the guts of the living. From quotes
that quiver on my lips,
and entwine in a torrent of time,
obscuring where England’s history
meets my own. And at last, I tremble,
pulsate with purpose, in this church
that transcends itself.

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Allison Rhodes hails from Victoria, Canada where she works as an English teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Psychology, as well as a Bachelor of Education. She also maintains a longstanding love of dance, and, to this day, continues to keep a canvas-slipper-clad foot in that door. Her writing has appeared both online and in print, with recent publications in Firewords Quarterly, Poetry Quarterly, and Form Quarterly.

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Image by Internet Archive Book Images – No restrictions, Wikimedia Commons